Bikes are perhaps the most eco-friendly form of transportation. You reach your destination while getting some exercise on the way. Not all cities on the planet are bike friendly, and some are downright dangerous. The roads, people’s attitude, bike lanes are perfect in some towns and cities, which inspire people to take up cycling. But some cities are absolutely the worst for cyclists – take a look at the least bike friendly cities you should avoid:
12 least bike friendly cities
Sydney is a bustling city with a huge number of cars. It has been called the worst for cyclists, as the drivers hate the cyclists and do not shy away from verbal abuse towards them. They honk and drive dangerously near so that you have to be aware of your own safety at all times. Besides, the authorities here are not bike friendly either, as they levy heavy fines on cyclists and there is a long list for fines too.
How do you avoid traffic in Sao Paulo? By zipping around in helicopters! This is what the wealthy residents of Sao Paulo do to avoid being stuck in humongous traffic jams, and to escape the terrible pollution. Cars are driven extremely fast here, without any consideration for cyclists – in one incident, a car severed the arm of a cyclist and not just that, the driver threw the arm away in a river 30km away. So, this city is one of the least bike friendly cities of the world.
The climate of Hong Kong is a major deterrent for cyclists. The air is humid and hot, and you feel as if you’re in a sauna. It’s tough to walk outside, let alone bike. Besides, cyclists have a hard time crossing multi-lane highways and carrying the bikes over the steps of pedestrian overpasses. Cycling is a luxury for people and those who want to be safe from speeding drivers and traffic jams, venture to the special recreational areas for cycling. Hong Kong too qualifies as the least bike friendly cities.
In Cairo, the situation for bike riders is rather sad. It is far from being a luxury, and is considered to be a transportation mode for delivery boys. This city is one of the worst for cyclists, as there is a social stigma associated with biking. For women, it is even harder to cycle around the city due to the sexual harassment they have to face. There is no lane driving and the large numbers of potholes as well as smog, makes this city dangerous for bikers.
Delhi’s traffic jams are truly bad, and the outdoor air is also quite bad. There were good cycling lanes made at the time of Commonwealth games, which are now being used by motorcyclists. Cycling for more than five hours a week is not wise in Delhi, as the poor air quality can become harmful after five hours of cycling here.
Moscow has harsh winters wherein the roads are covered with snow. The pollution is high here due to the large number of cars, and cyclists have to deal with raging road rage as well as bad driving habits, which make it dangerous for bikers. In Moscow too, cyclists have to carry their bikes over stairs for reaching pedestrian crossings, cross-multilane streets and highways. Bikers sometimes are forced to cycle on the pavements, thus making it dangerous for pedestrians.
Beijing is one of the least bike friendly cities, surprisingly as we have all seen images of thousands of cyclists on Beijing roads. Now, cars are the chosen form of transport and riding cycles is seen as a big come down in the city. The cycle lanes are full of pedestrians, cars and auto rickshaws. The air pollution too is a factor, which makes the city un-bike friendly.
The European Cyclist’s Federation has ranked Malta as the worst place to cycle due to the bicycle fatalities and other negative factors. The traffic is fast and heavy, and tourists have been known to hire bikes only to return them five minutes later due to the scary traffic.
In Nairobi too, bicycle fatalities is the reason why cycling is unsafe. The bicycle lanes are confusing which causes many unnecessary accidents. Sometimes, the cycling lanes just end abruptly, leaving you stranded in the middle of the street! Nairobi certainly fits the bill for the least bike friendly cities worldwide.
The glitzy and glamorous city has roads which spell disaster for cyclists. The city shells out millions of dollars every year to the families of killed or seriously injured cyclists. The money could have been spent on improving the roads and building proper infrastructure so that bicycle riders can ride safely in the city.
Shanghai too used to be densely populated with cyclists. 63% of all journeys in the city of Jinan in China used to be on cycles till 1998, but by 2011, the figure had gone down to 10%. In Shanghai, cycling figures were down by 60% in the same time. China’s economic development has led to people changing to cars from cycles, and cycles are not favored anymore. The streets are now more car friendly than cyclist friendly, so cycling here is fraught with difficulty these days.
The state of Florida is supposedly dangerous for cyclists as it has the highest number of cycling related fatalities in the US. Speeding trucks and cars are dangerous for cyclists, especially on roads which are wider now, to relieve traffic congestion. But among all the other Florida cities, Orlando is the least bike friendly cities in US and around the world. In Orlando, there are no bicycle lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks and crosswalk light. Cyclists are disrespected by drivers, honked at, bumped into and they are forever at the danger of being mowed down.
Going green activists have been promoting cycling as the best form of eco friendly transportation. But people will not be encouraged to take it up till there is better safety for cyclists on the road, and the social stigma associated with it (in some countries) is reduced.